Fazel Koriya was the hat-trick hero for AFC Rushden & Diamonds as they cleared their first hurdle in this season’s FA Cup with a comfortable 5-1 victory over Oxhey Jets at the Dog & Duck.
There was little doubt about the final outcome once the hosts had raced into a 3-0 half-time lead in the extra preliminary round clash against their Spartan South Midlands League opposition.
The visitors did pull a goal back after the break but Koriya rounded off a good night for him by completing his hat-trick before Jason Turner rounded off a decent evening with the fifth and his first goal for the club.
It was a fairly frantic opening but Diamonds carved out the first chance when Russ Dunkley stretched to reach Joe Henderson’s right-wing cross but could only send it over the bar.
Oxhey, who chose to pack the midfield from the start, responded with Lee Armitt’s neat run ending with a shot that forced Matt Finlay into his first save.
But Diamonds always seemed to have an extra edge to their game and they took the lead as a good move involving Matt Gearing and Dunkley created the opening for Koriya who did the rest with a low finish.
Visiting goalkeeper Will Baker threatened to spoil the Diamonds’ party as he denied Elliott Lamb-Johnson and then, even more impressively, Jack Ashton who stole in at the far post.
But he was powerless to stop the hosts from grabbing a second six minutes before the break.
An excellent burst from midfield by Richard Bunting saw him play in Gearing in the left, his cross found Koriya and he finished it off at the second attempt.
And it got even worse for the visitors before half-time. Ashton turned the ball back into the danger area at the far post and Ashley Fongho’s attempt at a clearance sliced off his boot and flew into the corner.
It looked like the game was done and dusted but Oxhey threw themselves a lifeline four minutes into the second half when Armitt converted Alfie Hatch’s excellent cross from the left.
Almost immediately, Gearing curled an effort just over the bar after good work from Koriya and Ashton headed over after substitute Adam Confue had flicked on a Lamb-Johnson cross.
Liam Dolman headed wide from a Gearing corner but Oxhey could have made things interesting in the following attack when substitute Eoin Casey blasted over the bar after a quick free-kick had caught the home defence out.
But the game was finally up for the visitors with 13 minutes to go as Koriya rounded off an excellent evening by completing his hat-trick.
He started the move by finding Confue. The midfielder’s shot was parried by Baker and Koriya followed in to hammer home the rebound.
Koriya was rightly given a deserved exit as he was immediately replaced by Jason Turner.
And the summer signing ensured he got in on the act in the final minute when he latched onto a through-ball, skipped round Baker and finished into an empty net.
Job done and the victory now sets up a very tasty preliminary round home clash for Andy Peaks’ men with Southern League Division One Central side Bedford Town, who are managed by former Wellingborough Town boss Craig Adams, on August 30.
That will be a tie to keep an eye on...
Diamonds: Finlay; Henderson, Dolman, Parkinson, Ashton; Lamb-Johnson, Harris, Bunting (sub Confue, 54 mins), Gearing (sub Ling, 69 mins); Dunkley, Koriya (sub Turner, 78 mins). Subs not used: Lorraine, Redding.
Oxhey Jets: Baker; Kelly, Phillips, Fongho, Speer; Lowton, Brennan (sub Armstrong, 82 mins), Daily, Gladdy, Hatch (sub Casey, 57 mins); Armitt. Subs not used: McRoberts, Boateng, Beaumont, Bull, Cook.
Referee: Matthew Hopton.
Goals: Koriya (24 mins, 1-0), Koriya (39 mins, 2-0), Fongho og (44 mins, 3-0), Armitt (49 mins, 3-1), Koriya (77 mins, 4-1), Turner (90 mins, 5-1).
Bookings: Bunting (persistent fouling), Armitt (foul), Brennan (dissent).